What Do You Mean ‘Not Authorized?’

Editor’s note: Jeff Allen has heard every employer excuse you can imagine for not paying up — and dozens more that defy imagination. A few years ago he began documenting them in a weekly collections column. Because of the importance of collections, Fordyce will periodically reprise the most common situations he addressed. The complete collection is here.

What Client Says:

You dealt with an “unauthorized hiring authority.”

How Client Pays:

They don’t call him an “unauthorized hiring authority.” But I do because the phrase says it all. They say things like, “The president wasn’t authorized to approve your fee.”

We truly believe everyone – from the janitor to the president – is authorized. The law does too. Actual authority from the client is something you can’t be expected to know. Apparent authority is all you need. You can be as gullible as you like, because the client should be controlling the mouths, pens and keystrokes of its employees.

If it lets them talk, write, type, listen and read – believe! Then place away. Let the client argue the lack of authority. You were misled. It is estopped (stopped or prevented) from asserting the lack of authority.

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It’s frightening that any employee can bind an employer. But it’s based on the right of control and the public policy to protect people who deal with a business.

So don’t give someone the third degree if they utter something that sounds like a job order. If you do, you’ll be showing that you doubt him. Instead, just be able to prove you cleared the fee. Your JO should always show the date of fee confirmation, a copy of the personalized fee schedule sent to him, and anything you can get signed.

Then centuries of law will work — for you!.

More than thirty-five years ago, Jeffrey G. Allen, J.D., C.P.C. turned a decade of recruiting and human resources management into the legal specialty of placement law. Since 1975, Jeff has collected more placement fees, litigated more trade secrets cases, and assisted more placement practitioners than anyone else. From individuals to multinational corporations in every phase of staffing, his name is synonymous with competent legal representation. Jeff holds four certifications in placement and is the author of 24 popular books in the career field, including bestsellers How to Turn an Interview into a Job, The Complete Q&A Job Interview Book and the revolutionary Instant Interviews. As the world?s leading placement lawyer, Jeff?s experience includes: Thirty-five years of law practice specializing in representation of staffing businesses and practitioners; Author of ?The Allen Law?--the only placement information trade secrets law in the United States; Expert witness on employment and placement matters; Recruiter and staffing service office manager; Human resources manager for major employers; Certified Personnel Consultant, Certified Placement Counselor, Certified Employment Specialist and Certified Search Specialist designations; Cofounder of the national Certified Search Specialist program; Special Advisor to the American Employment Association; General Counsel to the California Association of Personnel Consultants (honorary lifetime membership conferred); Founder and Director of the National Placement Law Center; Recipient of the Staffing Industry Lifetime Achievement Award; Advisor to national, regional and state trade associations on legal, ethics and legislative matters; Author of The Placement Strategy Handbook, Placement Management, The National Placement Law Center Fee Collection Guide and The Best of Jeff Allen, published by Search Research Institute exclusively for the staffing industry; and Producer of the EMPLAW Audio Series on employment law matters. Email him at jeff@placementlaw.com.


2 Comments on “What Do You Mean ‘Not Authorized?’

  1. This is the most amazing information about fee agreements I’ve ever read. I thought only officers of the company or its employees authorized to give a Purchase Order number could make a contract . Thank you for setting me straight.

  2. Does a warning posted on a company’s career page protect them from unscrupulous hiring managers? Such as: “The submission of referrals or resumes by anyone other than a candidate directly to XYZ Company’s employees is strictly prohibited. Any resume submitted in the absence of a signed agreement will become the property of XYZ Company and no fee shall be due.” Is it our job to scan their sites for such language used to escape verbal and email commitments made by their employees?

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